Trump management

Discussion of hands from past BSkA tournaments (or other events) and how they were bid and played. Skat problems. General discussion of strategy and tactics.
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John McLeod
Joined:Mon Apr 23, 2012 9:26 pm
Trump management

Post by John McLeod » Fri Mar 04, 2016 5:06 pm

Hinterhand wins the bidding for 18 and after looking at the skat makes spades trumps. You are Mittelhand holding C:J, S:A 8 7, C:10 9, H:K 8 7, D:9.

Your partner leads the king of diamonds, you play your 9 and declarer wisely wins with the ace. Declarer leads the jack of spades and partner plays the SQ. What do you do?

My instinct, holding four good trumps, is always to win the trick and try to attack the declarer's trump control, in this case probably by leading a heart.

This is a slightly modified version of hand 1 of the Oxford tournament on 27th February (I have swapped a couple of cards between V and M so that by making the right decision you can actually defeat the contract). At the table Mittelhand ducked, which I thought was a mistake. Are my instincts wrong?

The argument for ducking is that partner quite likely has one or two trumps, your CJ and SA are certain to make tricks if the declarer keeps leading trumps, and you want to win those tricks after partner has run out of trumps. I suppose the key is to decide whether it is a hand where you can win by piling enough points on declarer's losers or a hand where you are trying to gain control of trumps. How do you decide? I would be grateful for any insight.

Mike Tobias
Joined:Tue Apr 24, 2012 8:49 am
Location:Kent, UK

Re: Trump management

Post by Mike Tobias » Sat Mar 05, 2016 8:44 pm

My instinct would have been to duck, for the reasons you state. If partner has another trump, it's probably the 9, or a red J if you're lucky. The argument for winning and weakening declarer's trumps is stronger if you have an Ace to lead.

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